|Sexier (and scheme-ier) than you think he is?|
Partisan politics are invariably poisonous. Indeed, boosterism breeds an ever-expansive propensity to a pernicious myopia. The more passionate one becomes in advocating for a particular candidate, the less that advocate is able to see, or care about, the truth; instead, such a one reflexively comes to believe, and just as reflexively to argue for, whichever “version” of the truth is most conducive to the likely success of one’s own candidate, and/or most presumably detrimental to the prospects of that candidate’s rivals.
But more is occluded than the fundamental ability, or willingness, to tease out fact, and conscientiously distinguish it from falsity. Another casualty of partisan punditry—whether carried out by the highest-paid, forever-flacking news television flunky or the merest envelope-licking volunteer—is a consequent inattention to subtlety. An enthusiastically compulsive partisan simply reacts to an event, rather than actually chewing it over; as a result, he frequently misses both the short-term truth of the matter and the long-term takeaway.
A case-in-point of this phenomenon is the reaction of partisans of various stripes to a recent National Enquirer piece, alleging that Presidential aspirant Ted Cruz is a serial adulterer.
The information in the piece, whatever its level of veracity, apparently originated from elements in the now defunct Rubio campaign. Still, Cruz instantly called the story “garbage” and blamed it on “Trump’s henchmen.” At the same time, Trump’s operatives were gleeful about Cruz the conspicuously unctuous evangelist apparently being exposed as a randy hypocrite, Jimmy Swaggart-style. Of course, the course of Trump’s own past is scattered, smothered, chunked, and topped with numerous infelicitous infidelities (though he’s apparently calmed down recently as a near-septugenarian baby boomer working on his third marriage), but partisanship can always rationalize the practice of grossly disproportionate moral standards, and is adept at finding specious justification for behavior that one would hotly condemn under non-partisan circumstances.
What the partisans ignore, or fail to notice, is what I would call the “meta”-story here. I claim no insider knowledge of the goings-on of the campaign trail, but I do, I think, have some inkling of the contemporary Zeitgeist with regard to attitudes towards marital sexual morality, particularly with regard to certain less-remarked mores, which go unremarked because people generally retain an awareness that they are shameful, even as they unquestioningly internalize them.
Elsewhere, I have remarked upon how the rise of feminism has worked very much in favor of the sort of men usually viewed as “alpha males," and quite to the detriment of so-called "betas,” since young women are now encouraged not to “settle” for just any guy, however “nice” or “good”; instead, they are given general permission to be quite unrestrained in pursuing their bliss, as I remarked in my 2014 article "Brutalizing the Beta":
It has often been remarked that the real losers of the sexual revolution are the so-called “beta males.” After all, prior to the time when the marital covenant became so thoroughly denigrated and devalued as it is now, “betas” actually wielded a kind of clout.
Back when young women were still encouraged by the culture to marry decent men, instead of being pushed to pursue Eat Pray Love-esque escapades with sexy strangers, the better to “find themselves” and so earn their ticket of supposed feminine “authenticity,” it actually paid for guys to be good, solid providers with sweet natures and decent temperaments.
During such times, men of this sort were quite sought-after commodities, in fact. Prospective wives could, after all, do a lot worse than to pledge troth to a solid, respectable man, even if truth be told he was no Gable or Grant in the looks department, didn’t ooze irresistible tough-guy charisma like Bogart, and didn’t possess the world-conquering ambition of Hitler or Stalin. Even if your "beta" hubby was a bit of a dullard, he at least took care of you, provided for you, and saw to the health and well-being of your children; these matters certainly weren’t small potatoes, and weren’t viewed as such. A good man, everyone agreed, was good to find.
Now, with fornication common, marriage rendered malleably meaningless and conformable to any and all newfangled configurations, and bristling misandry rampant in the culture, “betas” have it much tougher. Being a solid, respectable man is no longer enough; women, fed on vacuous mantras of self-esteem and entitlement from an early age, now demand “that spark” from their prospective mates; their less virtuous hypergamic tendencies are indulged, rather than discouraged, by the “you go, girl” Ophrah-fied, slut-celebrating Cosmo-culture of flagrant degeneracy in which we now find ourselves. As a result, the sort of guys who used to get snatched up greedily by the ladies who dwelt in the old dispensation now get kicked to the curb with numbing regularity by the whores who rule the new one.
As a result, "betas" today are regularly roasted, ridiculed, and scapegoated: they are mocked as losers if they can’t land a girlfriend, castigated as "entitled" if they complain about being treated badly by women, and sneered at as hapless "cucks" when their faithless wives or girlfriends cheat on them with a higher-status man. The sexual revolution—fed, financed, and encouraged by the likes of bloated, oversexed, power-drunk narcissists like Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, along with much of their grisly generation, those feculent "free-loving" freaks who came of dubious age at the "Woodstock" psyop—has turned normal and healthy sexual mores upside-down; today, it is decent men whose behavior and attitude is regarded as silly and embarrassing, while patently caddish men are commonly respected and admired.
Of course, this manner of thought often takes place, as it were, beneath the surface of things; superficially, out of deference to tradition, we still maintain a certain grudging respect for men who remain true to their vows and refrain from betraying their spouses. Viscerally, however, we are can’t help but feel drawn to that which denotes status and power. In our debased age, an adulterous man is seen as someone who is “alpha,” someone for whom ordinary rules of morality simply don’t apply, someone who, in short, we’re conditioned to envy and look upon as our natural "better."
I have heard not a few people all but praise Trump for his extramarital shenanigans, implying that such behavior somehow indicates his deep-down shitlordy manliness. Again, such an assessment, absurd as it is (the true measure of manliness rests upon a man’s capacity for restraint, not his compulsion towards indulgence), is fairly common today.
Given this sad state of affairs, is it really so out of bounds to wonder if the news of Cruz’s alleged adulteries could have been made public with the tacit compliance of the Cruz campaign itself? Might Cruz’s own lawyerly non-denials of the allegations be designed to lead us to suspect him to be guilty? Might it be that we’re being invited to entertain the notion of Cruz as an ardent and avid pussy-slayer, in order that we might come to view him—perversely enough—as a more properly “presidential” sort of man?